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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is Pitino Officially Toast With UK Fans?

219 Wins
3 Final Fours
1 National Championship

Those are the major lasting points of the Rick Pitino era at the University of Kentucky.  Many or most UK fans couldn’t care less about those stats after Pitino took the UL job.  But there has always been a silent majority (minority?) of UK fans that would still appreciate what Pitino did here at UK, especially after saving UK from the depths of probation as quickly as he did.  Unfortunately, those people are often shouted down by those who will never forgive Pitino for taking the job of the rival.  Both sides have strong arguments on how to feel about Pitino.  That’s not the argument here.

And then Pitino’s sex scandal occurred with Karen Sypher and many UK fans took joy and humor in that.  Some Cats fans argued that was a personal problem for Rick and it was none of their business.  Others took delight in their hated rival’s coach embarrassing himself at a public establishment and a public trial.  But UK fans were certainly not in any kind of agreement of where to stand with Pitino.  Especially with Calipari taking off at UK and the Cats finally back to national prominence, I think the opportunity was there for UK fans to lighten up on Pitino.  Some will never, but many had moved on.

But this latest scandal to strike Pitino, whether directly involved or not, has to make any UK fan strongly question whether they can have positive feelings about Pitino ever again.  I personally don’t think Pitino knew what was going on with these prostitutes and what they were being hired to do, but at the same time, this is his program and culture around it is created by Pitino.  He does have to take some of the blame, if not much of the blame.  The scandal is so disgusting, even if only part of it is true, that any goodwill that had not already been built up with UK fans is basically gone.  Hell, you are hearing a TON of Louisville fans who are expressing fatigue in dealing with these issues every few years and are calling for a resignation.

The reason I bring this up is because there has always been this assumption that whenever Pitino retired from UL that UK fans would begin to lighten up on their hatred.  There was even talk about him being welcomed back into Rupp Arena someday, maybe with reunions of the 1992, 93, or 96 teams.  Who knows?  Only time would have told.  But I think the gigantic majority of hatred towards Pitino was simply about his UL connections, and if those were no longer there, UK could accept him once again.  For some, that was never going to happen.  But a more reasonable fan was willing to respect what Pitino did and accept him back into the group.

Now he has 2 sex-related scandals tagged to him, one that directly involved him.  Luckily for us, none of those occurred when he was at Kentucky.  But Pitino will always be linked to Kentucky.  In much the same way that problems at UMASS and Memphis for Calipari have stuck to Kentucky even though Cal has had no issues while here.  So the question is this: ARE WE AS A FANBASE COMPLETELY DONE FOREVER WITH RICK PITINO?  Even after Pitino leaves UL, will he ever be welcomed back into the UK family?  And if you were a supporter of Pitino before this latest scandal broke, was this the final straw in continuing that support?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

48 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is Pitino Officially Toast With UK Fans?

  1. LexingTONYn
    8:17 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Two sex-related scandals have nothing to do with it. When the wheels of his plane touched down in Louisville in March of 2001, FEBUK was dead to me.

    • ClutchCargo
      8:35 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      ^ This is pretty much exactly what I came here to post. I seriously doubt this stuff makes any difference in the way any UK fan feels about Pitino.

    • Tony
      11:24 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      AMEN !

  2. GroundControlToNumber9
    8:22 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    No one respond to this… BTI is a scab with nothing to talk about.

    Pitino gave us a great ride and now gives us great comedy.

    • CATandMONKEY
      8:30 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Your second line is the most true and succinct summary of Rick that has ever been posted.

    8:27 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I can both appreciate what he accomplished while at UK and still think he is a D-nozzle for how he has acted and what he has said while at UofL. Had he left UK and immediately gone to UofL, with no intervening stint in the NBA I would have much harsher feelings toward Rick.

    His sex life doesn’t bother me but his hypocritical posturing about honesty and integrity with minimal personal ownership of said issues is my major problem with Pitino. I would like to think he had no knowledge of the current circus but if it is shown he did- hit the road, Jack.

  4. Suffering Fools
    8:31 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Some of us never liked him even when he was here.

    • The Original WTF Guy
      8:35 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      That makes at least two of us. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated him as a coach but while I was sad to see him leave, it wasn’t devastating.

  5. MC
    8:33 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Most of the UK fans that hate Pitino are not old enough to remember 1988 and the embarrassment of probation and Sports Illustrated. While I wish Rick had gone to anywhere but Louisville, I still remember with happiness his first year at UK when they played much better than anyone believed possible. Rick was loved when he was here because he got the most out of every player.
    My favorite UK players are still those who came to UK because it was Kentucky and not because it was a one year meal ticket. Kids like John Pelphrey who would never get a sniff from UK anymore are my favorite.
    As for Rick nowadays. It’s kinda sad, but I’m old enough and not a jerk enough to appreciate all he did for UK when he was here.

    • ukjaybrat
      8:42 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      i can appreciate what he did with UK and still be pissed that he went to Louisville. even without the sex scandals, rick has thrown Kentucky under the bus on multiple occasions saying the fans were too much for him to handle. (ironically at the same time throwing his own fans under the bus for not being hardcore enough).

      Before two weeks ago, i would have been fine ing back to honored with the 96 team someday.
      now? just lose his number.

    • Echo1
      9:03 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      I was a student at UK in 1988. So, yeah, I remember. I still don’t like the Hypocrite.

  6. The Original WTF Guy
    8:33 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Pitino was a douchebag from Day 1 when he arrived here with his “Only I can save these inbred yokels from themselves.” This was never more than a stopping off place for him although I do believe towards the end he began to get it. I never did nor do I begrudge him for leaving to take the Boston job; that was a dream of his. I can sort of look past him taking the UL job but on his first day he called out the “small minded” few that would not support UL 364 days out of the year. Yes, Rick, we have hated them our entire lives but now that *you* are there they will suddenly become our second favorite team. The man’s ego has it’s own gravitational force.

  7. Mixxy
    8:36 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Pitino is sort of like actor Robert Blake. He was great early on in “Hell Town” and “Baretta”, but then when he moved on and murdered somebody, his fans abandoned him. It’s still possible to appreciate “Hell Town” and “Baretta”, but it’s like they were done by a totally different person from the man Robert Blake has become.

    • MED in Malaysia
      10:49 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Great analogy. That sums it up quite well from my perspective as well.

    • Megan
      2:15 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Here’s another: OJ was one of the most amazing running backs I ever saw. He was a pretty thing to watch. And it was a pleasure to see him in commercials (with Arnie) and in the Naked Gun films. You never forget those things.

      But then stuff happened, and you want nothing more to do with him. I actually think it’s kinda sick that you’d want to. I’m not capable of that kind of compartmentalization. I can’t put on an uncomfortable smile and pretend to forget what he did. That’s the kind of dysfunction you see in battered wives. No, things have changed, and you can’t change them back.

  8. Basteballer
    8:36 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Actually, he became “dead to me” when he was announced as UL’s coach. However, his brokenness in this latest scandal has humanized him a bit for me. I actually feel sorry for him in this one and, though I understand the buck stops with the head coach and he’s directly responsible for the compliance mindset of his team… I hate that this might be the way he goes out. It shouldn’t be his legacy. He was THE coach back in the day. I loved him at UK.

  9. RICK
    8:43 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    What #1 said is the same way i fell. Rick Who?

    • Stormin'
      3:51 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Same for me. He’s simply not relevant to my world any more, and depending upon the results of the NCAA investigation, he may be much less relevant to college basketball.

  10. Luca Brasi
    8:48 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I have internally debated this for years. On one hand, I cannot comprehend how a coach can leave and end up at an arch rival. You will never see Coach K leave for a stint in the NBA or anywhere and then come back to coach at UNC. Never. Maybe school loyalty is old school. Times have definitely changed.

    On the other hand, If Rick hadn’t come to UK who knows what would have happened. I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been a couple of titles in the 90s…. No Tubby…No Billy Clyde… and No Calipari. Our whole future would have been changed. I am appreciative of what he did at UK and that will continue to take precedent over his total D move.
    Calipari = Michael
    Pitino = Fredo and is close to swimming with the fishes.

  11. buzzard
    8:56 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I was proud to have him as coach at UK. He brought pride back to Kentucky.. But you can’t take the job of our arch rival and expect us to be friends. Sure, he probably did deserve (at first) a warm welcome back to Rupp.
    But now we see what kind of person he really is. He screws sluts in public places, he payed to have her baby killed and then hired his assistant to marry the slut. Over the years, he’s put down Cat fans.
    And now this. I hope he never wins another college game in his life. I hope he goes back up north where he belongs. I do not like the man and I can’t see how any parent would ever let him coach their son. The Louisville fans should demand that he resign. He brings shame to the entire state. (I live in Louisville)

  12. Echo1
    9:01 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    He was toast for me the day he took the Louisville job. He took it out of narcissism. He knew how UK fans wwould react before he took the job. Sure, the man has a right to coach where he wants, but I have the right to dislike him…. And I do. That’s probably not a popular opinion with many UK fans, but that’s how I see it. How much would we love Cal if he went to Louisville after leaving UK?

  13. leon singleton
    9:02 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Love Pitino despise Tubby and Billy Clyde.

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:07 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Tubby is 1000 times better as a person than Rick, possibly as good at X’s and O’s but as a recruiter, terrible in comparison.

    • Keg of whole milk
      9:41 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      @CATandMONKEY… Tubby is only 1000 times better as a person than Rick?? Not even close. Tubby is a BILLION times better as a person.

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:55 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      Keg, touche’ . You are one trillion percent correct!

  14. Pitino
    9:04 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Pitino has changed over the years, and his press conferences document the descent. Physically, he is increasingly scary looking, like a skeletor or Hollywood actor who keeps getting botched facelifts. And there is no longer a UK or UofL fan left on the planet who can say they TRULY believe whatever bizarre statements now come out of his mouth. In short, it is easy to be done with the current version of Pitino.

  15. Mr. Pitino
    9:12 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Would Rick Pitino accept the invitation? At this point, I doubt it. With that said.. UK should save themselves the possible embarrassment that would come with being stood up by Rick Pitino. Have you seen Karen Sypher? How bad would it be, to be stood up by a guy that did not stay away from her? That hypothetical is a HUGE burn. I want to quit imagining it.

  16. RUPPS_rhetoric
    9:24 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I’m not sure Rick would want to be “welcomed back” into the UK family. I know this may sound weird or a bit off; but when he got that UL tattoo after they won the 2013 National Championship, that did it for me. He is officially Louisville’s coach. And I mean not just currently; but he’s been at UL longer than he was at UK. He’ll be referred to as former Louisville coach, much as Denny Crum is mentioned. I’ve never once said take his banner down. That’s ludicrous. What he did for UK was incredible; but he’s a “Louisville Man” now, and will always be one. He just happened to have a really good run at Kentucky.

  17. Phantom
    9:29 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Whenever Pitino had the UofL tattoo placed on his back, that completely tore it with me. He had officially sold his soul.

  18. Joanne's surgeries
    9:47 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Rick is a tough one. Hard to forget what he did in 1990 with Derrick Miller and Reggie Hanson beating Shaq and Chris Jackson. Hard to forget having the highest Rupp attendance ever in 1991 with a probation rag tag team. The Unforgettables in 1992 lived up to their name. Mashburn was arguably top 5 to ever play for UK, the 1993 team was a BS Mashburn foul from the final game, the 1996 team was unstoppable, the 1997 team was his best coaching job making it to OT of the finals and he laid the foundation for the 1998 title . . .so yes those things are hard to forget but much like a drug addict that can’t stop stealing and can’t stop using drugs you eventually have to give up on him. I don’t like Rick, I don’t think he will ever be welcomed back to UK, I love that Cal hates Rick and owns him but I still respect what he did for UK at their darkest hour.

  19. Dieter
    9:47 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Given the magnitude of Rick’s achievements at UK, I personally view him with quiet apathy and some measure of thanks. I think that was cemented regardless of this latest issue. He will be recognized by UK at some point, just as Cal will be at Memphis eventually as well. However, for now, he’s our rival’s coach with a piling on of scandal and shouldn’t expect or receive any love from BBN.

    Had he gone to any school other than UL, he would’ve already been welcomed back to Rupp with open arms even with the scandals. He knew this day could come when he took that job and in many ways elevated the intensity of the rivalry by doing so.

    Do I hate him though? No, I hate the institution he represents. UL had been a blight on the face of the Commonwealth long before his arrival.

  20. Billyhakanea
    9:48 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    When Rick was coaching at Kentucky he reminded me of a puppet master ( he wanted to control everything and everybody) . I respected the fact that he brought our program from the depths of probation to a national title so quickly, but there was always something that prevented me from thinking he was truly a great coach with great character. Because of his controlling style while at Kentucky, I have a hard time believing he wasn’t aware of everything that goes on within his program. However, neither the Karen Sypher incident or the current situation at Louisville have made any difference to me concerning my feelings toward him. I never really liked the guy!

  21. BlueChuck
    9:51 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t know one Kentucky fan that lives in Louisville, including myself, that will ever forgive Benedict Pitino for taking the job at Loserville. As someone above mentioned, he knew exactly what he was doing when he took the job at our biggest rival. Listening to their fans rub it in our face was absolutely horrible. Add to that his comments about the “small minded” Kentucky fans, and various other comments through the years, and I honestly don’t understand how any Kentucky fan can still like him, or pull for him to succeed.

  22. CatsBy80
    9:59 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    as others have referenced, the tattoo was kind of the turning point. sure it bothered me that he went to our arch rival and sure it was a slap in the face to kentucky fans… but i was willing to let that go… then he got the tattoo and in that moment, he embodied what a “louisville man” is… he is the face of the louisville program and I’m not sure that I would welcome him back…

  23. Bluecreeker
    10:32 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Many here do forget, or maybe they weren’t around during the King Rex days. Dark days indeed for the UK program. Rick deserves credit for the job he did at UK. We had one .500 season and we shot straight to the top from there. Secondly, Rick and his wife actually fell in love with Kentucky, maybe not so much Lexington as they longed for some of the conveniences that larger cities have to offer.

    So I don’t have a problem with him coming back to Kentucky, it was a huge statement made by the man in support of our State.

    However, the man is a hypocrite based upon the program he ran at UK -vs- what he has done at Silo U commuter school.

    While HC of the Celtic he fired Winston Bennett for having sex with a Co-ed…..the sex was consensual but it violated a “morality clause” in Bennett’s contract. I am not here to debate the merits of Bennett’s firing, just using it as an example of how far Coach has fallen.

    He once help Sean Woods out of a game due to grades. When asked what class Woods was failing Pitino replied something like this “He isn’t failing anything, he just isn’t excelling” ” at UK we strive to excel in everything we do”.

    Sorry to be long winded…….just callin ’em the way I see ’em. And I do still like the guy.

  24. Bluecreeker
    10:34 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Oh yea……now where is that UK Tatoo?

  25. catfan4life
    10:47 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Joanne’s Surgeries that was a really good post.

    Great memories there, but as others have noted there was always the ego thing. He could never control his ego or seem to want to. A true narcissist he is never recognizing his faults or warts. I could never stand seeing the priest sitting on the bench at UK. That was ultimate hypocrisy and false piety. Every time I see that ‘thing’ on his back I want to vomit. Perhaps, his ego and salesmanship is what made him successful at all his college stops, but not the pros. I hated the constant rumors he was looking for that NBA gig again which ultimately was his downfall.

    The UL job was a plum job at the time, but as noted you don’t do that. He can’t say he wasn’t warned. Many people warned him about it and he knew the vitriol from both sides. I hate that he has descended into the depths of the dark side mentally and physically, but he made his bed so has to lie in it.

    I don’t believe for a minute he didn’t know what was going on. I believe he was at the forefront of it. I believe everyone in the administration knew of it, sanctioned it and kept it quiet. Look at how many top notch players had them on their final lists, but suddenly dropped them after a visit to UL? I kept wondering why that was happening, but now we know why?

    Finally, Tubby Smith was no saint either. He lied every year he was at UK about how his playing style. He lied to the players he would actually recruit about that style as well. I felt he lied about the lost FAX. The ultimate no-no by him was to leave without even saying goodbye to his players.

  26. The Loco Pollo
    11:00 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    If you can’t compartmentalize your feelings about his time at UK and time at UofL then you’re just not rational (which is fine, no one ever accused most UK fans as being rational). I will always appreciate what he did to bring UK back. I wish he took the Michigan job and not Louisville, but there’s something to be said for his love of KY. It’s unfortunate that he became a caricature at UofL, but I respect his time at UK and am thankful for it.

    Part of me has always found a little bit of solace in knowing that deep down I think it has always eaten away at Rick that he knows he’s at little brother now, and he knows it’s not the royalty he left in Lexington. He has to say all the right things for Louisville, but he has said he made a mistake leaving UK and I think that looms over him way more than we know.

  27. John Ellis
    11:18 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Rick was more discreet at UK but the same things went on. It was known at the time if you wanted to know. He’s a problematic human being but a gifted coach. He and Calipari both have issues late in huge tournament games, both should have had multiple titles here. Tubby’s title with the 8th (if that) best team in the country remains more impressive than their titles.

  28. BluKudzu
    11:24 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Rick Pitino has become the butt of many jokes, and has shamefully, fallen so far. Those associated with him in any manner, become part of that unfortunate situation.
    UK basketball needs zero part of that.
    He has always been, and always will be, a narcissistic opportunist with low morals. He is driven by an ego that forces him, to be the walking train wreck, he is today. He is a selfish man with little, or no regard, to those he used to obtain his present situation.
    The distance we have now with Rick needs to be expanded further. He should not be part of a UK basketball conversation. Other than an acknowledgement, that he was fortunate enough to have coached here, he should be treated no better than Tubby, Billie Clyde, or any other. He was no Adolph Rupp, he deserves nothing more.
    I believe UK did more for his career than he had done for UK. Yes he was the coach when we made it back to where we rightfully belong,
    We are UK, and in his words to Joanner, “The Roman Legion of College Basketball.”
    We would have gotten back to the top.
    UK Basketball is the best job in the world. The UK job made him wealthy, and gave him opportunities he would have never had.
    There are those that feel a certain need to extend eternal gratitude to this man, I do not. He was the one who left, he is the one that moved on, to supposedly better things, he is the one that forgot about us.
    It is time we do the same. Move on. He is no longer significant in, and to, the future of this program. The energy we spend on him can and should be used elsewhere.
    I think it is time.

  29. Tony
    11:30 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    While Head Coach of the Boston Celtic he fired Winston Bennett for having sex with a Co-ed…..the sex was consensual but it violated a “morality clause” in Bennett’s contract. I am not here to debate the merits of Bennett’s firing, just using it as an example of how far Coach has fallen.

    • BluKudzu
      11:39 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

      He did that, while he allegedly kept a former UK cheerleader, with him, in Boston.
      Great guy.

  30. wolfgang
    11:55 am October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Does pitino have a UK tattoo? Fcuk him

  31. chad
    1:02 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

    Thank you BTI for another hash tangent. Lay off the whacky tabacky brother.

    There are many coaches who could have come to UK at that time and turned our program around. It just happened to be Rick. We are UK basketball. There is nothing that can stop us, only slow our domination for a brief period. Instead of thinking about what he did for us, you should recognize what we did for his career and how many 0’s are in his bank account because of us.

    Then he decided to go across town and coach our biggest rival. You don’t do that. You just don’t. That was the end of any respect he was owed by BBN. The best thing Rick did for us was leaving to coach the Celtics. If he hadn’t, who knows how many pregnant cheerleader and hooker scandals we would have had to endure.

  32. klassact32
    2:17 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

    I was finished with Pitino the day he signed with U of L. That hatred will always be there. I honestly don’t get why people are surprised by any of this. Sports are a direct correlation to what happens in society daily and I blame sports for part of that problem. There are absolutely zero consequences when Coaches and athletes break the rules. The win at all cost mentality creates a delusion that rules and regulations do not apply to me.

  33. Juiced
    3:06 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink


  34. Le Docteur
    3:07 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

    The UK fans who now hate Pitino for taking the U of L job are not wrong about how they feel about him. They’re wrong about what he was and is. We love UK and make the assumption that any coach who comes to UK will have love for and loyalty to UK, like we do. And with respect to most human beings, that is a fair and understandable assumption. Pitino was and is, first and last and always, about Pitino ONLY. He’s like Gordon Gekko: he’ll come to your company and make the shareholders feel good by increasing the value of the shares. That makes you feel good because your share value goes up. But he didn’t do it FOR you; he did it FOR him. As long as — and ONLY as long as — your interests are aligned exactly with his, he will make things happen that make you feel good. And then he’ll leave you to go do that with someone else. So, at a time when UK needed a boost in share value, Pitino came along and made us all feel good by raising UK’s share value spectacularly. But there’s a great line in the original Wall Street about “don’t get emotionally involved about stocks;” Pitino didn’t get emotionally involved with UK. Nor the Celtics. And probably not U of L. He made a very telling Freudian slip in his initial spooky and unsettling press conference when he asked rhetorically “why do you write a book” referring to why the Hooker-Author would write a book and then mentioned that he’s written 5 or 6 books. He then answered his own question, “for the money.” Pitino is a cynical, self-absorbed, money-driven, ego maniac. He might well have not known about what his sub-assistant was doing because HE wasn’t around — he was out trying to make money somewhere else. I don’t know why we don’t all just realize that and realize that he didn’t “deceive us;” he was and is what he is. We just wrongly assumed he had a normal human emotional make-up .

  35. Joe
    5:16 pm October 13, 2015 Permalink

    If BBN can find forgiveness for RP bolting Lexington after winning the first championship in 18 years please take a survey on how the majority/minority feel about Eddie Sutton, Tubby Smith and Billy Clyde Gillespie’s departures.